Winners & losers of NBA early entry deadline

25 Apr

Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson headline the NBA Draft early entry list.

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

The deadline to declare early entry for the NBA Draft was on Sunday night. A number of underclassmen declared and a number of top level players decided to stay put. Who won and who lost?


Texas – The Longhorns lose 42 points a game with the loss of Jordan Hamilton, the team’s leading scorer, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, two of the top freshmen nationally. Gary Johnson, an 11.5 point per game senior, is also gone. Texas has a fine recruiting class coming in but none of the players can provide the same kind of scoring punch that Hamilton and Thompson leave at their respective positions.

Michigan – If Darius Morris stays in the draft, and he very well could given the lack of depth at the point guard position, the Wolverines could be in some trouble. Morris emerged as one of the top 10 point guards in the country and is the tailor to the Michigan team, sewing all of the young talent together. If he doesn’t return to Ann Arbor, we may see a slip in the Wolverine program next season. Morris is one of the most valuable players to a team in the country.

Tennessee – Cuonzo Martin has a pretty sweet new gig. He knows it. But things could get off to a rough start if Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris stay in the NBA Draft. The team’s top two scorers are dipping their feet in the pro pool. Harris is the key. If he comes back, the transition for Martin could be a somewhat smooth one. Hopson, a hot and cold player, is likely a second round pick if he stays in.

Washington State – Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto are both gone. Can the Cougars recover? Probably not. More…


Every year there are a number of guys that leave school early for the NBA Draft only to find that they are in no man’s land.

Ashton Gibbs, Pitt – The tough guy guard signed with an agent and is talking big about his plans on being in the NBA. You have to love the confidence but reality may be a bitter pill to swallow. He’s an undersized two guard with average athleticism by NBA standards.

Greg Smith, Fresno State – The draft lacks for big men and perhaps that is why he already inked with an agent. The odds are better for him to hear his name called over the podium but it isn’t entirely likely either. Smith was lackluster against non-WAC foes this season.

Jereme Richmond, Illinois – What does a kid that averaged 7.6 points and 5 rebounds a game think he’s going to hear from NBA teams? Richmond has signed an agent and is going pro in some sense of the word. Attitude questions will negate any sort of potential someone tries to gamble with him. One of the biggest question marks on the early entry list.

Other notable just toeing the water players: Reggie Johnson, Miami; Kim English, Missouri;
Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State; Terrence Jennings, Louisville; Kevin Jones, West Virginia


Vanderbilt – Jeffrey Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli are all coming back to Nashville next season. That’s big news for the Commodores. The trio combines for 47.2 points and 14.8 rebounds a game. That kind of scoring punch can’t be recovered from if lost. No other team in the country is benefiting more than Kevin Stallings’ team. Sure, there are great recruits coming in (see Dai-Jon Parker and Kedren Johnson) but neither would have likely posted 15 points a game as rookies.

North Carolina – Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller all announced they would come back next year to Chapel Hill. Everyone, including the National Hoops Report, will have the Tar Heels No. 1 in the very early preseason polls for 2011-2012. Barnes could be the National Player of the Year next season and could be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.

Ohio State – Jared Sullinger said he is coming back to Columbus. That isn’t a typo. An instant impact Ohio State big man will actually spend more than one season playing for Thad Matta. Sullinger gives the Buckeyes one of the top interior post players in the nation. He also gives the rest of the Big Ten ulcers just thinking about the defensive plan to try and stop the big fella. It doesn’t hurt that William Buford is also coming back for his senior season, too.

Baylor – Perry Jones, a likely lottery pick, is coming back to Waco for year two despite missing the final game of the season due to an NCAA investigation for impermissible benefits. Jones, a bouncy 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in his debut season. Aggressive forward Quincy Acy is coming back, too. He’s a tough-guy interior force and the perfect compliment to a mulit-faceted player like Jones. Pair these two with a big-time recruiting class coming in, including a top 10 prospect in Quincy Miller


18 – That’s how many players that are currently listed on’s early entry list that are project to go undrafted.

Players can withdraw from the draft without losing any NCAA eligibility by May 8.

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